Should I Go: A Song Analysis
“Should I Go” is a song by American recording artist Brandy Norwood from her fourth studio album, Afrodisiac (2004). It was written by Walter Millsap III, his collaborative partner Candice Nelson, and mentor Timbaland, while production was helmed by the latter. “Should I Go” is built on percussive beats, syncopated handclaps and a piano riff that samples British alternative rock band Coldplay’s song “Clocks”, written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, and Chris Martin for their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002). Lyrically, Norwood as the protagonist openly talks about contemplating stepping away from the music business, admitting that she is trying to figure out where she fits in today.
In this article, we will explore the meaning and significance of “Should I Go” in the context of Brandy’s career and personal life, as well as the musical and cultural influences that shaped the song.
The Background of “Should I Go”
“Should I Go” was conceived after the production of “I Tried” which samples Coldplay’s “Sparks”, another song from their second album. Impressed with Millsap and Nelson’s knowledge of the British band, Timbaland played them the music he had crafted around “Clocks”, a song that he had been obsessed with for a while. The trio decided to write a song that would reflect Brandy’s feelings about her situation at the time. Brandy had just given birth to her daughter Sy’rai in 2002 and ended her relationship with Robert “Big Bert” Smith, who was also her executive producer and A&R. She had also parted ways with her longtime collaborator and mentor Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who she felt was not going in the same direction creatively as her. She was unsure about her future in the music industry and felt disconnected from her fans and peers.
“Should I Go” was one of the last songs recorded for Afrodisiac, which was released in June 2004. The album received critical acclaim for its mature and experimental sound, but it was a commercial disappointment compared to Brandy’s previous albums. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, but sold only 416,000 copies in the US as of 2009. It also failed to produce any hit singles or garner any major awards nominations. Brandy later blamed the lack of promotion and support from her label Atlantic Records for the album’s underperformance. She also admitted that she was not happy with Afrodisiac and felt that it did not represent her true artistic vision.
The Meaning of “Should I Go”
“Should I Go” is a confessional and introspective song that expresses Brandy’s doubts and dilemmas about her career and identity. She sings about feeling lost and out of place in the changing music scene, wondering if she should stay or go. She questions her relevance and purpose as an artist, as well as her happiness and fulfillment as a person. She also acknowledges the pressure and expectations that come with being a celebrity and a role model, especially as a young black woman in a male-dominated industry.
The chorus of the song is based on a sample of Coldplay’s “Clocks”, which is a song about time and destiny. The piano riff creates a sense of urgency and anxiety, as Brandy repeats the phrase “should I go” over and over. She also uses metaphors such as “one day is fine and next is black” and “if I go there will be trouble and if I stay it will be double” to illustrate her confusion and frustration. She asks for guidance and clarity from someone or something, but she does not get a clear answer.
The bridge of the song features a rap by Timbaland, who plays the role of Brandy’s friend and adviser. He tries to encourage her to stay in the game and reminds her of her achievements and talents. He also praises her for being original and authentic, unlike some of her peers who follow trends and copy others. He tells her that she has a loyal fan base that supports her no matter what. He ends his rap by saying “you know what you gotta do”, implying that Brandy has to make her own decision.
The Significance of “Should I Go”
“Should I Go